Policy Procedures April 2002

ACE Mission

The American College of Epidemiology is a professional organization of epidemiologists that serves the interests of its members through sponsorship of scientific meetings, publications and educational activities, recognizing outstanding contributions to the field and advocating for issues pertinent to epidemiology.

ACE Strategic Goal:

The College advocates policies and actions that enhance the science and practice of epidemiology.

Definition of Policy:

Support of a position in a public forum

I. Selection of Issues for Consideration.

  • Candidate issues are submitted to the committee in writing or by e-mail.
  • Source of ideas or issues
  1. The membership or its leadership (e.g., Board or Policy Committee), including active solicitation of ideas from the membership
  2. Pending legislation
  3. Other professional organizations
  4. Policies of governmental agencies
  • Criteria Used in Assessment by Executive Committee or Board
  1. Importance to practice of epidemiology
  2. Importance to the public health
  3. Likely impact of ACE policy statement
  4. How controversial the policy is, i.e., whether the College is likely to be able to reach a consensus

II. Procedure

  • Once issue is selected a determination of the rapidity of the response is made.
  • If issue can be thoughtfully considered with the benefit of a few months, then a Policy Statement is developed. If time is short and there is a urgency for action, then a Position Statement is formulated. In some instances, the committee may elect to inform the membership and/or call for action with a Policy Alert prior to or instead of formulating a formal position statement.
  • Policy Statements
  1. Policy Committee can be initiated by the Policy Committee, or upon the request of the Board or Executive Committee.
  2. The Draft Policy Statement is then developed by Policy Committee.
  3. The Draft Policy Statement is then reviewed by Board/Executive Committee.
  4. Revisions by Board/Executive Committee returned to Policy Committee.
  5. Revised Statement is then circulated to ACE membership via the website, with comment requested within one month.
  6. Member comments considered by Policy Committee and incorporated as appropriate.
  7. Revised Statement is transmitted to Board/Executive Committee for approval. Further revisions may be suggested by the Board/Executive Committee.
  8. Final approved Statement is posted on ACE website and disseminated to appropriate audiences (e.g. legislators, other professional organizations, federal officials). Policy Statements will also be published in the Annals of Epidemiology.
  • Position Statements
  1. Position Statements can be drafted either by Board/Executive Committee or Policy Committee. May depend on who is available and knowledgeable
  2. Position Statement is written and distributed without review by the entire Board.
  3. To avoid any misunderstandings, any Position Statement will be submitted to the ACE Executive Committee for review prior to being issued, to be certain there is agreement that its content is consistent with ACE's mission, and with its classification as a Position Statement. The ACE President, or designee, will provide feedback within one week of receipt.
  4. The final Position Statement will be disseminated by the Policy Committee to appropriate audiences (e.g., legislators, other professional organizations, federal officials, etc.).
  5. Position Statement is simultaneously circulated to membership via listserve and/or website for information and may be accompanied by call for action (e.g. letter writing or further dissemination).
  • Policy alerts/calls for action
  1. When the Board/Executive Committee or Policy Committee learns of proposed regulations or legislation, a decision may be made to quickly notify the Membership and/or other epidemiologists ( via e-mail, listservs, or e-mail lists of other professional organizations). Situations warranting this approach include:
  2. When there is insufficient time to develop a position statement, but a response is needed.
  3. When no immediate action is required, but members need to be made aware of potential changes in policy
  4. The President and/or members of the Executive Committee must approve use of the ACE e-mail list to alert members.
  5. A summary of the issue(s) is drafted by a member of the Policy Committee or Executive Committee/Board.

III. Examples of Policy and Position Statements and Policy Alerts

  • Policy Statements
  1. Epidemiology and Minority Populations
  2. Health Data Control, Access, and Confidentiality
  3. Ethics Guidelines
  • Position Statements
  1. Occupational Category for Epidemiologists
  2. Amendment to the Freedom of Information Act, A-110
  3. Health Insurance Portability Act
  • Policy Alerts
  1. Proposed DHHS regulations on medical records access with deadline for comments